According to an article authored by Johnathan Hettinger for Flatland, six foreign-owned wind energy companies have received at least $4.8 billion in federal tax credits between 2000 and 2015. Between 2004 and 2015 U.S. farmland controlled by foreign investors and corporations doubled from 13.7 million to 27.3 million acres, with 4.5 million acres of that due to long-term leases for wind and solar facilities. That acreage is valued at $7.9 billion.
Nebraska currently has 113,803 acres of foreign-owned wind facilities; Kansas has 459,875 acres, Oklahoma 301,455 acres, Colorado 348,847 acres, and Texas 522,740 acres, to name a few.
Almari, a dairy farm in Saudi Arabia, bought 15 square miles of Arizona desert to add to the acres the farm owns in California. The Saudi Arabian dairy farm purchased this land to raise and ship alfalfa hay back to their cows overseas — they can no longer grow alfalfa in their country due to depleting their own ancient aquifer. Almari owns 15 wells and can pump 1.5 billion gallons of water from the aquifer under the desert Southwest.
These two examples of landowners willingly handing over land in the United States to foreign countries have done it for one reason and one reason only — cash. The rhetoric of jobs and economic development follows both.
To be fair, the foreign dairy farm has indeed provided a verifiable net economic gain to the area. I have yet to see comparable data for wind facilities.
“We want to have/leave something for our children and grandchildren” is a common phrase that accompanies the reason behind these sales and leases. Stop and think about that for a minute. The cash is most likely spent on immediate wants and needs, while the distinct possibility of a foreign country controlling your land will continue for decades or, in some cases, perpetuity. Is that seriously what you had in mind to leave your heirs?
Those first two paragraphs are terrifying in other ways that are not the purpose of this letter, but thinking readers will comprehend. I dearly love Cherry County and the Sandhills and have nothing but the utmost respect and love for its ranching community. I have no children or grandchildren to see the possible destruction of our precious country, but most of you do. Please, research and think for yourselves. There are reasons more and more counties are reining in or outright banning wind turbines. Get involved now — it’s a little late once the horse has escaped the barn.